Biogas plants in Punjab are helping in saving trees: Punjab Minister

A total of 1.75 lakh biogas plants that have been set up in the state so far since 1994-1995 are helping save lakhs of trees from getting axed, Punjab’s Power and Renewable Energy Minister Gurpreet Singh Kangar said.

“Since 1994-95, Punjab Energy Development Agency has set up 1,75,000 biogas plants, which are running successfully,” Kangar said yesterday.

“By switching over to these biogas plants almost 2,100 tonnes of wood, traditionally used as fuel, is saved and lakhs of trees are saved from being axed,” he added.

The minister said maximum rural and semi-urban households were being brought under the ambit of the National Biogas and Manure Management Programme (NBMMP) to safeguard women from the harmful effects of smoke that a chulha, a traditional stove, generates. The NBMMP is aimed at providing clean cooking fuel to households. Kangar said the centrally sponsored scheme was garnering good response in Punjab.

Under this scheme, rural and semi-urban households are facilitated to set up biogas plants of 4-6 cubic metre, he said, adding that 3,050 biogas plants had been set up in 2017-18. PEDA CEO N P S Randhawa said that a cost of approximately Rs 35,000 to Rs 40,000 is incurred on a biogas plant of 4-6 cubic metres and a subsidy of Rs 9,000 and Rs 11,000 is given to general category and Scheduled Castes respectively.

Under this scheme, an amount of Rs 1,500 is also paid to Swai Rozgar workers who in turn encourage and train people to set up these plants, Randhawa said. Nearly 150 such workers are currently working in the state, he said.

The scheme generates employment for almost 300 skilled labourers who set up the biogas plants, the PEDA chief said. He asserted that biogas can prove to a be a viable alternative to traditional cooking fuels.

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